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“Incredible. Taj Exotica is as good as these reviews say it is!”

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Taj Exotica Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Walnut Creek, CA
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Incredible. Taj Exotica is as good as these reviews say it is!”
Reviewed October 23, 2009

Mostly when I scour these reviews, what I'm looking for is the negatives as differentiators. So let me give it to you straight up. There is no reef on the island itself.

This is compensated for to a large extent by the gorgeous, large lagoon that surrounds the island, and then wholly compensated for by the fact that in every other way imaginable, the resort is perfect. The location, rooms, food, spa, service. I could go on and on about all these aspects, but will just say that if you're trying to decide on a really 5 star resort, that won't disappoint, this is a sure bet. You'll pay a lot, but you already know that :-) At least here, you end up feeling that it was worth it!

Having been lucky enough to travel to the Maldives a few times, I have visited several properties. I'd visit other resorts again, depending on the rate, time of year, and what I was going for - but Taj Exotica is the only resort that I came away from not wishing something had been different, or better in some way. A small but powerful example of the difference between Taj and some of the other 5 stars - when you go to the pool, someone comes by immediately with ice cold water and towels. 30 minutes later, they come by with chilled fruit. I can't say how many times I have been to 5 star resorts which leave you sweating for 10 mins or longer before someone comes by to bring towels, see if you want anything or to help put up an umbrella.

Every restroom, even the outdoor restrooms near public areas, has luxury products - highe end liquid soap and lotion. Would it have changed my experience if one of the bathrooms near the pool had standard issue soap? Not really, but in a luxury resort, it's all in the details. And those small charming touches add up to a really spectacular time. Taj Exotica reminds me of the time I went to a particular Michelin restaurant and, while I do remember the meal was spectacular, what really surprised me and what I will always remember is that they had tied silk ribbon around their spare toilet rolls in the bathroom. I didn't know before how toilet paper could possibly look special, but this restaurant showed me how. The Taj Exotica likewise ties the metaphorical ribbon around the toilet roll!!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank twoworlds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TERSMLE, Manager at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, responded to this review, November 17, 2009
Dear Guest:

We were delighted to have you with us and thank you for your review on TripAdvisor.

It is always beneficial to learn from our guests where improvement is required, it is however infinitely more pleasant and satifying to read the very complimentary comments you wrote.

Your eye for details and your appreciation for the services that we provide to make your stay more comforfortable are very heartening.

We look forward to you having you stay with us again soon at the resort and assure you of the very best in services, facilities & hospitality in the true Taj tradition, which the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives is committed to delivering to all our guests.

Warm Regards
Swati Dhir
Dir of Sales
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Los Angeles
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2009

I'll start by saying that although I have been using Tripadvisor for many years now, I'm ashamed to say that this is my first review. I'm finally finding the time to get around and repay everyone for all the helpful input I have read over the years.

My wife and I finally tied the knot in April 09, and since we love to travel so much, we decided to take two honeymoons. Our first trip was for two weeks, directly after the wedding, first week being spent in Dubai and Muscat (Oman), the second week spent in the Maldives (second honeymoon was a 2-month trip around the world later in the summer, but that's a whole other review). We spent 8 days in the Maldives, and spit these days between the Taj Exotica and the Island Hideaway.

I spent months researching many hotels and resorts throughout the Maldives, reading countless reviews, taking notes, speaking to agents, etc., as I'm sure many do. Ultimately I think I made the best decision. I'll focus on Taj, and leave the my comments about Island Hideaway for another review.

This resort was absolutely AMAZING!!! Likely one of the best and most memorable stays I have ever had in my life (and this includes our trip around the world). The service we received was like none other we have ever experienced. The assistant (or "butler") assigned to us was Hanoo, and he went out of his way to make sure that our every need was addressed.

We stayed two nights in the deluxe lagoon villa with plunge pool, and second two nights in a deluxe beach villa with plunge pool, and we loved both options. Our Lagoon villa did not face Male, so I cannot comment on the previous complaints I have read about this. We were not bothered by the sound of an occasional plane flying overhead as others have also commented on. As a matter of fact, the only reason I noticed them is because I remembered reading about them in other reviews.

Both villas were amazing, although the beach villa was pricier than the lagoon villa. It was great to experience both types of settings however, and we plan on doing the same if we return. The only problem I had with the beach villa is that although very private, occasionally someone will walk across your strip of beach (which could feel intrusive at times). Both still very private however.

The food was very good, but was VERY expensive! Fortunately we had a few meals which were included as part of our honeymoon package, which made it a little easier. I recall at one point spending about $35 on a hamburger! If you drink like I like to drink, make sure to have a lot of room on your credit card! I wish I could give a little more detail about the food, but being that the review is so far out, I have forgotten some of the details on the meals (sorry).

Service again was top notch!! Part of our honeymoon package included a dinner for two at the one of the restaurants, but set up privately on the beachfront. It was too windy that evening and management felt so bad that they could not accommodate, that the following evening our butler Hanoo set up an entire dining experience on a small private section of the beach just for us. He set up the table, candles in the sand, lighting, etc., and drove a buggy back and forth to the restaurant in order to cater to our every need (wine, appetizers, desert). Was very romantic, and at no extra cost to us

We had gotten PADI certified to dive on our honeymoon, so we were able to dive twice at the Taj. This was our first diving experience ever, so not much to compare it to. Dives were amazing however, saw reef sharks, turtles, Napoleon fish, eels, and many other beautiful colorful animals. The team does everything for you, and all you have to do is show up! Was able to dive again in the Red Sea on our second trip, and boy they really spoil you in the Maldives!

We were not huge spa people, so given the prices at the Taj spa, we opted to wait until the last part of our trip try the spa treatments.

In closing, the experience was amazing, and everytime I go back and look through our pictures, I feel a sense of nostalgia which I have not experienced with too many places. Do not expect to party like a rock star, but this will be one of the most romantic experiences of your life. Make sure you save plenty of cash, but also try and take advantage of some of the packages

Cannot wait to go back!!!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank johnabed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2009

Lovely property... beautiful.....well maintained..great staff.. they go out of their way to ensure u have a good time.. not just help you plan a special occassion but also responsible.. the prompt assistance of the hotel staff to a small medical emergency in the middle of our trip totally impressed us..
Superb food.. one must try each of their restaurants.. buffet was also very good..

  • Stayed November 2008
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank nidhisr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
30 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed August 11, 2009

Hi guys...my first review....the TAJ was just unreal..only one word to describe this slice of heaven...PERFECTION..we also went to two other resorts in the 2 weeks we were there and realized not all the islands are the same......to sum it up.....Maldives is for pampering and luxury..spend the money and do it right or dont bother.....out of the 3 resorts we went to the Taj Exotica had first class service far supreme than the others...not saying the other two were not beautiful...just lacked that personal first class touch which the Taj provided.Went to Sun island years ago....when they opened and have been to Soneva Gili and Soneva Fushi which by the way were outstanding...the other 2 islands we visited have been given reviews

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank GreeceBen10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2009

The previous comments mentioned by Allan really sum it up. it is simply the best 7 days i have ever spent outside my residence. special thanks to our butler hussain and the GM Mr.Girish. and if I had to stay for 5 days I would raly be upset. & days were just enough for us. It was realy total relaxation. do take the lagoon villa with a pool facing the quiter side.

Now ,actualy is the best time to travel economicaly. bringa book to read and a note book to write down your future plans. the time you sepnd there will be very inspiring.

enjoy it

Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
Thank alomary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2009

We have travelled extensively as a family over the last ten years or so and have been to very many places claiming to be "paradise." Nowhere has come as close as the Taj Exotica to actually fulfilling that claim.
I have stayed in many 5 star hotels but have never seen such a high level of service. The staff at this resort are outstanding and anticipate a guest's needs long before the guest him/herself. The friendliness is genuine and not an act. Nothing is too much trouble!
My wife made a light hearted remark about wishing we could avoid seeing Male in the distance from our over-water villas and before we could say "Jack Robinson" we were relocated on the opposite side of the site.
Special thanks to the general manager Girish Sehgal and then the brilliant Deepraj Mukherjee, Anthony Nili Chasteeii, Mohamed Ubaid, Ayath and the young lady in 24 degrees.
Yes, it is expensive but it is worth every cent. The food is divine in both restaurants.
Yes, it is close to Male but that means it's quick to get to!
Yes, it does rain a lot during the monsoon, but at least it's warm.
We will return!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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1 Thank AllanhReading
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2009

After a great deal of research on Trip Advisor and through a travel agent, we settled on 7 nights in a deluxe lagoon villa at the Taj Exotica. On the flight over, we commented that we were both nervous that our expectations were so unreasonably high that nowhere could possibly live up to them. How wrong we were!

Our 7 night honeymoon package included breakfast daily, a sunset cruise, special dinner on the beach, yoga session and 50min couples massage.

After a friendly and efficient pick up at Male airport around 11pm, we were whisked off on a thrilling speedboat ride (in the dark!) to the hotel. Coming up to the jetty was just beautiful with the lights from the reception and bar. We were greeted by Ayat, who would be our butler for the next 7 days, and quickly hopped on one of the island's buggies for a quick tour of the amenities and then on to our villa.

We were in villa 430 which was up the end of the jetty near the Presidential villa. This is definitely where you want to be as they're more private. Even numbered villas are all on one side and the side we were on faced out to Male. This didn't bother us in the slightest, and was actually quite nice at night with the lights. A number of reviewers have commented on the planes - yes, they do fly overhead but probably not more than 4 a day. That's the price you pay for being so close to the airport, which we believed was a positive as it meant we were at our resort quickly after getting off the plane, and because we didn't have to catch a seaplane to get here, didn't have to spend a night at the airport hotel waiting for the next seaplane in the morning. The villas on the other side of the jetty wouldn't have the view of Male but equally, wouldn't have as much sun during the day as ours did.

The pictures really don't do the villas (or anything on the island really) justice - they truly are gorgeous. We arrived to find a rose petal bath had been arranged for us, along with a complimentary chocolate cake congratulating us on our wedding. It was so exciting arriving at night and getting to wake up to the amazing views in the morning.

Unable to contain our excitement, we were up about 7am and after taking a few photos, were straight into the ocean! The deluxe lagoon villas are absolutely perfect - you have the choice of your private plunge pool (which was much bigger than we'd expected) or the glorious lagoon. The set up of the villa also allows you to choose between lounging in the sun or relaxing in the shade - perfect for pale-skinned people like me!

After our dip, we headed off to breakfast at 24 degrees, the main restaurant on the island. Breakfast was fantastic and the staff were so friendly - they all knew our names after the first day and would always come up and say hello each morning. Having an a la carte breakfast was perfect as everything was cooked fresh and to order - much nicer than a buffet especially at a 5 star resort. It took us a few mornings to work out that we could order a couple of dishes off the menu as part of our inclusive breakfast. Try the Akuri Pav (eggs Bombay style) - they were a big hit.

It should be no surprise that things on the island are expensive - not helped for Australians with the $US at the time. But if you're not prepared for that before you go, you haven't done your research properly. We took the view that it was a once in a lifetime experience and wouldn't let the costs bother us - though you can't help feeling a little queasy at some of the food and drink costs. We made the decision to have a late breakfast each day, just have a snack for lunch (and make the most of our free fruit and Nespresso coffee machine in the villa!) and then enjoy a nice dinner.

The menu at 24 degrees was very extensive and on our first night we were told that if there was something that we wanted which wasn't on the menu, we simply needed to tell the waiter and the chef would make it for us! In the end, we were very happy with the menu so didn't take up this option as we preferred to sample the local foods. We took advantage of the BBQ night which was great fun, and also had the local Maldivian curry menu for our included beach dinner.

The Jiva Grande spa is really something to behold - arguably the best spot on the island. The treatment rooms are amazing and we really enjoyed the couples massage that was included in our package. The spa treatments are very expensive, but we were lucky enough to have a special treatment purchased for us by my sister as a wedding present. The Alepa treatment went for 2 hours and basically involved us having a whole section of the spa to ourselves to enjoy the steam room, 4 special showers, outdoor showers and an amazing mud treatment which we plastered on each other before lying outside over the ocean - amazing.

In terms of other activites, there are lots on offer but we were quite happy relaxing in our villa most days. The one trip we did do was the sunset fishing, which was great fun despite us not catching all that much. One of the girls on our trip hooked a shark though, so that was a bit of excitement for the night! We also did a wine tasting one night on the beach which we really enjoyed. Kamal the sommelier really new his stuff, and it was well worth it to try out some new wines on the beach as the sun set!

On our final night, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Deep End, the fancier of the 2 restaurants on the island. It was a beautiful experience and the food was certainly some of the best we've eaten anywhere in the world - but it was scarily expensive. Again, we felt it was worth it on our honeymoon and are glad we did it, as we'd have regretted not going once we got home.

I really can't say enough about this resort (so if you have any specific questions feel free to email me!). The staff were all absolutely amazing, the location is just perfect, the food was beautiful and all in all it was a honeymoon experience we'll never forget. Be prepared for the fact that it will be expensive - as long as you know this before you go and can prepare yourself for it, you'll have a fantastic time.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
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5 Thank Rebecca0210
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Property: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa
Address: 2117
Phone Number:
Location: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > South Male Atoll > Emboodhu Finolhu
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Emboodhu Finolhu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Taj Exotica Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Award-winning resort is a sublime fusion of luxury and nature. Nestled amidst one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives. Accommodation is a choice between villas built entirely over water and beach villas. Pan Asian. World Progressive. In villa dining. Interactive dining. Or a romantic dinner for two under the stars... Dining is a culinary adventure. The acclaimed Jiva Grande Spa provides an extensive range of holistic treatments in the over water treatment rooms. Welcome to an island sanctuary where luxury and landscape merge to create a living experience that is one with nature. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives is located on the exotic Emboodhu Finolhu Island, in the middle of one of the largest natural lagoons in the world. This tropical isle, once known as the 'Three Coconut Island,' ornamented with pale white sand and crystal blue waters is lush with tropical flora. The resort is only 15 minutes by luxury speedboat, available 24 hours, from Malé International Airport. The award-winning resort seamlessly extends the magic of the island's blessed natural beauty in its design even as it offers the finest in contemporary amenities and services. Luxuriously appointed villas and suites, private plunge pools and personal sundecks with endless views of the Indian Ocean, make this the perfect setting for a private retreat. Our Jiva Grande Spa, an authentic Indian spa, offers a range of ignature wellness experiences. A choice of bespoke dining experiences, water sports, and recreation options make for a complete and exclusive estination holiday. Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Maldives, has been voted the Best Resort in Asia and the Second Best in the World.* ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Taj Exotica Hotel Emboodhu Finolhu
Taj Exotica Resort And Spa
Taj Exotica Maldives
Taj Exotica Resort All Inclusive
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives/Emboodhu Finolhu

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